City wanting to boost tourism, entertainment
Kelvin Knauf
City Manager

The City of Rockdale has launched a multi-media marketing program to boost the city’s business traffic and entertainment options. The City is exploring attracting tourists and other visitors through live music and acts, the arts and food-related events. The campaign may use print and electronic advertising, online and social media, billboards, special events, and high-profile promotions.

As part of the program, the City created the Tourism Committee, which will serve as an advisory body on tourism-related issues and the overall marketing campaign. Committee officers include Joan Ratliff, chair; Michelle Morgan, vice chair; Sharon Cloud, secretary and committee members include Leanna Applegate, Kara Clore, Denice Doss, Dave Phillips, Mike Walko and Kit Worley.

During its first quarter, the committee has been actively laying the ground work for a longterm program to promote the city as a regional center for special events and historic attractions. As part of this program, the City has contracted with Orasi, a Fort Worth-based marketing and economic development firm, to assist with developing the City’s longrange program and marketing campaigns.

As part of that effort, the Committee has directed Orasi to determine how existing high-profile annual events can be enhanced to attract more tourists. The Committee also tasked Orasi with identifying other types of one-time and annual events that could be created to provide visitors with consistent reasons to visit. The Committee is expected to review the plan at its June meeting before a final version is submitted to the city council for review and approval in July.

The City and Committee view the marketing program as impacting other areas of Rockdale’s economy and growth beyond tourism and hotel lodging. They also see it as a way to boost retail sales by attracting more shoppers to the city. Other Texas cities have shown that an increase in visitors and traffic have sharply boosted the sales tax payments that they receive from the state and that higher traffic counts provide important data and ammunition to their economic development agency’s efforts to attract businesses to either move to their city or to open branch offices there.

Tourism is an industry that not only benefits those that are in the tourism-related businesses, it helps all of us. Additional or expanded events increase the options available to local residents when considering their entertainment or educational activities. Residents of all ages enjoy the visual arts and crafts such as painting, sculpture or handmade goods; performing arts such as dancing, music and plays; and educational exhibits on nature, science or history.

Vendors at festivals and events may provide a variety of items or services for local residents or businesses. Visitors to festivals or events may shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants and stay in our hotels.

I hope that our residents and businesses will take tourism to heart and be active volunteers at festivals, events or historical sites. If volunteering isn’t feasible, I hope residents will attend festivals, events or historical sites to keep tourism alive and beneficial for Rockdale. Be sure and invite your friends and relatives to attend also.

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2013-06-20 digital edition

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